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Common property, information, and cooperation:

Kurt Schnier, a Senior Research Fellow at PERC and newly named director of PERC’s Enviropreneur Institute has won The National Marine Fisheries Service’s Economics and Social Science Workshop Best Paper Award for research he co-authored with Alan C. Haynie and Robert L. Hicks. Schnier is also an associate professor in the Department of Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. The paper is titled “Common property, information, and cooperation: Commercial fishing in the Bering Sea.”


A substantial theoretical and experimental literature has focused on the conditions under which cooperative behavior among actors providing public goods or extracting common-pool resources arises. The literature identifies the importance of coercion, small groups of actors, or the existence of social norms as conducive to cooperation. This research empirically investigates cooperative behavior in a natural resource extraction industry in which the provision of a public good (bycatch avoidance) in the Alaskan flatfish fishery is essential to the duration of the fishing season, and an information provision mechanism exists to relay information to all individuals. Using a mixed logit model of spatial fishing behavior our results show that conditionally cooperative behavior is prevalent but deteriorates as bycatch constraints tighten.

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